Debates surrounding Charleston Church shooting

When not even The Daily Show host Jon Stewart can make light of the issues surrounding the Charleston shooting, it’s a sign that something is seriously wrong with the United States’ stance on racial tension and gun control. Instead, Steward said, “I have nothing other than just sadness that once again we have to peer into the abyss of the depraved violence that we do to each other, and the nexus of a just gaping racial wound that will not heal but we pretend doesn’t exist.”

According to CBS’s Mark Knoller, this will be the 14th time that President Barack Obama has had to make a statement after a mass killing.

This is from the Sandy Hook school to the Aurora shooting to the Charleston Church shooting. School kids, innocent people living their lives, and the religious all murdered by someone who was able to readily obtain guns. It makes you shake with anger. Especially knowing that gun laws in Australia were changed quickly after 1996’s devastating Port Arthur massacre. Countless attacks have happened in the United States since 2008 and still people cling to their Second Amendment rights above all else.

The attack on the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church has had three arguments surface out of this tragic event. The first is, was this attack on religion or race? When I first saw this, I wanted to bang my head on a table. The Nightly Show comments on Fox’s report questioning what kind of hate crime it is.  Firstly, the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church is not the only church in Charleston, South Carolina. This map proves that:


However, it was Dylann Roof’s alleged manifesto that indicates that it was about race and not religion. There are several pictures of Roof with the confederacy flag and the number ‘1488’. The number is short for “14 words”, a phrase used by white supremacists, and 88 stood for “Heil Hitler.” If this didn’t convince you that it was a crime of hate in regards to hate and not religion, then this quote taken from the manifesto might:“I have no choice. I am not in the position to, alone, go into the ghetto and fight. I chose Charleston because it is most historic city in my state, and at one time had the highest ratio of blacks to Whites in the country. We have no skinheads, no real KKK, no one doing anything but talking on the internet. Well someone has to have the bravery to take it to the real world, and I guess that has to be me.”

This shuts down any questions about motive, but raises new ones.

The United States is still clearly a country brimming with racial tension. From Ferguson to Baltimore to George Zimmerman, instance after instance has shown that racism poses a very real threat to the safety of African Americans. This shooting will only force the country to look harder at its ideals, hopefully forcing it to take a step to remedy these racial tensions.

The next issue raised is gun control. Seriously, how many people have to die to get this ‘right’ changed? I understand that it being in the Bill of Rights makes it a little hard to remove, but this law is outdated and unnecessary. In this day and age, do you really need to carry a gun on you ‘just in case’? Just in case what, someone decides to shoot your workplace? Maybe toughening these laws would remove the potential for that meaning you don’t really have to have a gun in the first place.

President Obama has made it obvious he is tired of this occurrence, “We don’t have all the facts, but we do know once again, innocent people were killed in part because someone who wanted to inflict harm had no trouble getting their hands on a gun.”   Obama tweeted on his personal twitter account regarding mass violence involving guns.

I hope Jon Stewart is incorrect when he says, “I’m confident, though, that by acknowledging it, by staring into that and seeing it for what it is, we still won’t do jackshit. Yeah. That’s us.”

The last is, will mental stability be the main focus of the investigation rather than the fact Dylann Roof allegedly sat with a group of people for a time close to an hour before opening fire and killing them. The Washington Post’s article, “Shooters of color are called ‘terrorists’ and ‘thugs.’ Why are white shooters called ‘mentally ill’?”  is an article that calls out media for falling into this habit of excusing white mass murderers.

The shooting of the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina is a tragic event that points out so many flaws in the United States and media. Above all, people have lost family and friends suddenly. President Obama said he has given statements like his too many times. And I have written articles like this too many times. Something has to give. Media has to give fair and thoughtful reports on these tragedies. Police have to be more aware of violent manifestos and white supremacists. America can’t continue letting murderers and psychopaths get their hands on guns. We have to critique anyone who tells us America has left racial inequality in the past. Something has to change.